When a young person completes the Christian Life Skills curriculum a celebration including a Rite of Passage Ceremony is conducted. Youth participate in a preparation process that gives opportunity for a thorough review of all they have learned during their participation in the Christian Life Skills ministry. It usually takes two years or more to progress through the entire curriculum. Often there is a group of youth who may begin, travel through and complete the program in the same time period. However, a Rite of Passage may be celebrated for one or two youth, or a larger group who have completed the process.
The Rite of Passage requires the memorization of scripture pertaining to the various life skills, knowledge of Bible stories, and the demonstration of the life skills in the daily experiences of the student. Parents, mentors and the youth are asked to affirm that they are utilzing the life skills in their daily practices and behaviors. A discussion with parents is conducted separately from the youth so that parents have an opportunity to describe what they have observed in their children as a result of the program.
A written test, an oral test, and a project that expresses the spiritual growth experienced by the student — are all part of the preparation for the Rite of Passage Ceremony. These three requirements can be adjusted or waived if a student has a personal challenge that requires an adjustment. The project may be musical, poetic, an essay or speech or some other creative and original expression. A worship service of celebration may be integrated into a regular morning worship time or held as a completely separate service. During that time each youth is presented by the parents, the mentor, and the program director. The student speaks of what he or she has gained from the Christian Life Skills experience and the impact it has had on his or her life. They quote at least one scripture and explain why they selected that particular scripture to share. They may also present the project they provided as part of the exam. The worship service is usually followed by a celebration dinner for the youth, their families, friends and the congregation/and/or invited guests. Other elements in the Rite of Passage involve the laying on of hands and prayer. The parents, pastor, mentor and/or other close associates participate in this part of the service. The youth receive a certificate of completion, an engraved medalion and other expressions of affirmation. On One occasion the Rite of Passage dinner was followed by a boat ride. On another occasion it was followed by an outdoor trip with outdoor recreation. There are many ways in which this experience can be made memorable and encouraging to the participants.
Participating youth are encouraged to immediately begin to assume a new level of accountablity and responsibility. Therefore they are provided opportunities to serve as mentors to younger youth, helpers with various ministries in the church, and in other ways utilize what they have gained to continue to grow spiritally, make a positive contribution in the lives of others, and remain active in the fellowship and life of the church in a way that provides
- opportunities for continuing spiritual growth
- people with whom they have devloped relationships who will continue the dialogue promoting spiritual growth, and maintain accountability for personal spiritual growth in newly emerging situations
- a deepened sense of belonging within the body of Christ
- a sense of responsibility for setting an example and helping younger youth to mature and develop whether academically, recreationally, artistically or in some other way that fits with their giftedness and capacity to interact with peers and younger youth